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Cross-location and Cross-disciplinary Collaborative Prototyping Using Virtual Reality in Higher Education

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The integration of virtual reality (VR) in education, particularly for collaborative activities and feedback, is recently trending with the continuous development of technologies. So, this paper reports a pilot study as part of an ongoing E-learning project for address the questions: 1. how can tertiary education design courses adopt VR systems in student projects in collaboration with external organizations, and 2. what are the perceptions of the students and external organization regarding the use of VR systems for cross-discipline and cross-location collaborative prototyping? The process of VR use for the learning activities are grouped into four categories: 1) introduction of basic features of VR tools (two hours), 2) self-learning/experiencing the tools — HTC Vive headsets with Masterpiece VR, SculptrVR, Google Blocks, and Sketchbox (15-20 hours), 3) co-creating design objects by adopting the selected VR tools — ScuptrVR and Google Blocks (two to four hours), and 4) presentation and get feedback in live VR space — Sketchbox with import models (2X30 min). The students responded that, for the collaborated project with a company based in another city, the VR setup is a great tool for demonstrating 3D models of the designed objects. It shows the detailed view of a product or a concept, it creates useful space for creativity, and it saves time. On the contrary, the technology is still in the early phase for the modelling purpose, still too cartoonish, lacks functions for engineering design, and gives dizzy feeling. This study involved collocated student teams of engineers and future study should include students of different study programs and campuses working for the same client as part of their respective courses.

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Cross-location and Cross-disciplinary Collaborative Prototyping Using Virtual Reality in Higher Education

  1. 1. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Cross-Location and Cross- Disciplinary Collaborative Prototyping Using Virtual Reality in Higher Education  Fei Yu1 & Md Saifuddin Khalid2, Associate Professor  Mads Clausen Institute1 & Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics2  University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Sønderborg1 & Odense2 Presenter’s Email: skhalid@health.sdu.dk 18th European Conference on e-Learning, Nov 7-8, 2019 Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 VR in Education: Collaboration and Feedback Purpose: Non-collocated students and industry partner/client collaboratively design or at least present and discuss with the clients and end-users for feedback on the design or prototype in the 3D space. Authentic Learning experience Research Questions:  How can tertiary education design courses adopt VR systems in student projects in collaboration with external organizations, and  what are the perceptions of the students and external organization regarding the use of VR systems for cross-discipline and cross-location collaborative prototyping?
  3. 3. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 A pilot study Company University collaboration KOMPAN Semester project 2IB, Think Business – ideation Three groups – 14 IB engineering students Feb. 2019 – Jun. 2019 The Task: Design a sensor-based monitoring system for outdoor playgrounds Identify number of players Identify activities Etc.2D and 3D drawings can be downloaded from here: www.kompan.dk/leg/multi-leg/moments- mini-smaborn-og-forskoleborn/to-tarne- med-tunnelbro
  4. 4. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 ChallengesDifferent geographic locations Odense – Sønderborg Cross disciplines IB engineering Sport and health science Connection via VR Prototyping Presenting Feedback Yu & Khalid (2019)
  5. 5. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Steps to answer the first research question How can tertiary education design courses adopt VR systems in student projects in collaboration with external organizations? 1. The selection and installation of VR systems at two locations, 2. collaborating with external organization, 3. facilitating the course activities for students to learn VR systems and to work on the problem and scope in collaboration with the external organization, and 4. facilitating the VR-mediated collaborative prototyping and feedback activities with the stakeholders of the external organization.
  6. 6. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics State-of-the-art: Review of literature  VR can be broadly categorized (Greenwald, 2018) as standalone, tethered, and mobile (see Table 1).  Only HTC Vive is designed and marketed by explicitly stating that it is ideal for multi-user environments and allows connecting external sensors.
  7. 7. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Summary of virtual reality headsets
  8. 8. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Motion Lab Odense 2 powerful PCs 2 HTC Vive VR Kit 6 HTC Vive Trackers Strap kits & extra cusions 4m x 4m play area Yu & Khalid (2019)
  9. 9. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 VR Lab Sønderborg 3 powerful PCs 1 HTC Vive Pro 2 HTC Vive 4m x 2m play area Yu & Khalid (2019)
  10. 10. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 VR Tools  “MasterpieceVR is a collaborative sculpting and painting tool that allows users to easily create 3D content in virtual reality.”  ”SculptrVR's 10,000x zoom enables massive creations with tiny details! SculptrVR makes it easy to create, explore, and share incredible sculptures with friends. With SculptrVR’s intuitive tools, but powerful tools, you can make anything!”  ”Blocks by Google lets you easily create 3D objects in virtual reality, no matter your modelling experience. Using six simple tools, you can bring your applications to life, create a volumetric masterpiece, or simply let your imagination run wild.”  ”Sketchbox is the #1 Design and Collaboration tool for AR/VR. Work together with your whole team in Sketchbox, and feel like you’re in the same room, even if you’re on different continents. Perfect for collaborative design sessions, presentations, and design reviews. Instantly start a VR meeting.” Yu & Khalid (2019)
  11. 11. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics The learning activities as a process • Basic features in MasterpieceVR (1hr) • In class assignment (1.5 hr) Introduction of the basic features in VR tools. • MasterpieceVR • ScuptrVR • Google Blocks • Sketchbox Self- learning/experiencing the tools (15-20 hours) • ScuptrVR • Google Blocks Co-create surrounding (2-4 hours) • Sketchbox • Import the models Present and feedback (2X30 min) (excluding the first introduction to VR tools and features)
  12. 12. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Design object 1 – Created in Blocks (by Google), Image from Sketchbox during presentation
  13. 13. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Design Object 2 – Created in SculptrVR, image from Sketchbox during presentation Yu & Khalid (2019)
  14. 14. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Design object 3 – Created in SculptrVR, Image from Sketchbox during presentation Yu & Khalid (2019)
  15. 15. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics A student is presenting the concept to a company stakeholder in Sketchbox Yu & Khalid (2019)
  16. 16. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 VR-Integrated Prototyping: Decisions by Groups No group adopted MasterpieceVR for co- creating the surroundings. Defective – only the person importing can see, no redo, and cannot save the co-created object. Two groups used SculptrVr to draw surroundings. The third group chose Blocks by Google. The students argued that Block has a better user interface and features for designing the objects. Exported OBJ files are imported to Sketchbox for presentation. A student is presenting the concept to a company stakeholder in Sketchbox
  17. 17. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Students’ reflections on VR systems learning experience Questions Asked What are the VR tools used during the whole process? What are the features used to create the surroundings? Why? Describe the development process briefly. How long time did you spend on learning/experiencing the tools? How long time did you spend on creating the surroundings? Will you use VR for other projects? If yes, what will be the purpose? And Why?  Pros  VR technology shows great potential in the early phase product design.  It is easy to learn these VR sculpting and painting tools.  It creates a design space with a realistic sensation, and unlimited space and materials for mockup, which is ideal for creativity.  The multi-user access feature supports collaborative design and creation.  It is useful for quick mock-up and prototyping.  VR technology provides useful tools for demonstration and feedback.  The design object can be presented intuitively.  It can show both the overview of the concept or the detail of an object.  It links people into the same shared virtual space.  There is a benefit of saving on time and cost for e.g. travel and other running costs Yu & Khalid (2019)
  18. 18. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Students’ reflections on VR systems learning experience Questions Asked What are the VR tools used during the whole process? What are the features used to create the surroundings? Why? Describe the development process briefly. How long time did you spend on learning/experiencing the tools? How long time did you spend on creating the surroundings? Will you use VR for other projects? If yes, what will be the purpose? And Why?  Cons  The sculpting software is still in the early development phase (modelling).  The drawings created by these VR tools are too cartoonish.  The currently available VR tools are not designed for technical drawing and 3D modelling, i.e. missing engineering-oriented functions.  The current VR headset is still not as comfortable as a wearable device. It is too big for head-wearing and it creates dizzy feelings  Technical issues  The VR system adopted for communication is not very reliable with multiple users.  Sketchbox crashed a few times when the students present the design objects, mostly during the loading phase.  The size of design object, being imported the virtual environment, is dependent on the minimum computer power of all PCs’ being connected. Yu & Khalid (2019)
  19. 19. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Students’ reflections on VR systems learning experience Questions Asked What are the VR tools used during the whole process? What are the features used to create the surroundings? Why? Describe the development process briefly. How long time did you spend on learning/experiencing the tools? How long time did you spend on creating the surroundings? Will you use VR for other projects? If yes, what will be the purpose? And Why?  Time spent for learning  Per student, 15 to 20 hours for self-learning of the VR tools, and then two to four hours for creating the surroundings.  Two hours introduction lecture, one hour presentation and feedback, 20-27 hours per group in VR.  Future interest for collaborative use of VR  The questionnaire results indicate that 13 out of 14 students decided to use VR in their future projects.  The use of VR will be mainly for communication purpose, i.e. demonstrate the design object in VR to present the concept for feedback or stimulate new ideas or transfer knowledge.  One student, who will not use VR in the near future projects, thinks that the technology is not ready for product design, and other modelling and prototyping methods are much easier. Yu & Khalid (2019)
  20. 20. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Feedback from the company Verified Narrative “The experience with non-collocated project members and the collaborative design and feedback process in the virtual reality environment shows potential for KOMPAN. We develop playgrounds and fitness equipment structures in Berlin and Brno. The designers at those places need to communicate and collaborate on the design and development of structures that are complicated. I see potential in working on similar scenarios in the company. In this project, the industry-academia collaboration would have benefited through the product development if we had involved a more complicated playground structure of an ongoing project. […]” Yu & Khalid (2019) After the first VR presentation, the company stakeholders asked for a step by step guideline on how to create a shared VR environment and how to import 3D models into it. Interview with industry case’s client representative for the students’ projects: A senior manager of KOMPAN fitness Institute in Odense.
  21. 21. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Conclusion and Scope of Future Work This pilot study explored the existing VR hardware and software for collaborative design and prototyping by non-collocated members of design teams and presenting the prototypes to the external organization as the client for the product requirement. A senior manager of KOMPAN fitness institute played the role of a client and provided authentic learning (Lombardi, 2007) opportunity for the students’ projects. SculptrVR and Google Blocks were used to co-create the surroundings and Sketchbox was used to import the models and remote presentation. From the health perspective, guidelines should be developed to inform the reasons behind experiencing dizzy feelings, protocols for troubleshooting and maximum duration of VR-based activities should be specified. Future research: Students with heterogeneous backgrounds (i.e. not engineering only) to work collaboratively. Assumption: Need for greater lab/technological support and peer-group learning. Yu & Khalid (2019)
  22. 22. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 AcknowledgementsThis work, as a pilot study of a project entitled “VR and AR technology blend for cross-location teaching in physical movement and health domain: Investigation with two innovation and entrepreneurship programmes’ students”, is supported by SDU E-learning Project Fund 2019. Great thanks to Senior Manager Morten Zacho from KOMPAN for his valuable contribution and feedback to the project. We would also like to thank the students for their participation and inputs.
  23. 23. sdu.dk#sdudk November 2019 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Yu & Khalid (2019) Fei Yu Md. Saifuddin Khalid skhalid@health.sdu.dk Thanksforyourattention Yu, Fei, and Md. Saifuddin Khalid. ‘Cross-Location and Cross-Disciplinary Collaborative Prototyping Using Virtual Reality in Higher Education’. In Proceedings of the 18th European Conference on E- Learning, edited by Rikke Ørngreen, Mie Buhl, and Bente Meyer, 609–17. Copenhagen: Academic Conferences and Publishing International (ACPI), 2019. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335096880_Cross-location_and_Cross- disciplinary_Collaborative_Prototyping_Using_Virtual_Reality_in_Higher_Education fei@mci.sdu.dk

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